India approves AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine

AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine got the green light in India.

The government said Saturday drug regulatory experts have recommended the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University as well as one backed by a state-run institute.

The government of the world’s second most populous country said the final decision rests with the chief of the Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation, but that process is expected to be a formality.

First approved by Britain on Wednesday, the AstraZeneca vaccine is cheaper and easier to use than some rival shots. But it has been plagued by uncertainty about its most effective dosage. It is being made locally by the Serum Institute of India.

The other vaccine is known as COVAXIN. It was developed locally by Bharat Biotech and the government-run Indian Council of Medical Research. Little is known about the results of its clinical trials.

India’s Information and Broadcasting Minister, Prakash Javadekar, said two other vaccines are waiting approval, one from India, the other from Russia.

“India is perhaps the only country where four vaccines are getting ready at one time. Yesterday, Serum’s COVISHIELD was approved for emergency use.”

India’s regulator has also received an emergency use application for the vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech. That one was the first to get regulatory approval in the West.

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